The love of the right things

Cartoon by Gabbie Evans

AUSTIN KLAWITTER | OPINION COLUMNIST | aklawitt@butler.edu

I am reminded of some words offered by my high school government teacher Michael Gordon.

“The American people will elect the president they deserve.”

And so we have.  

I, like many of you, do not feel the president-elect is the one I deserve, but you and I are not the whole of the American people. Hillary won the popular vote, sure, but the numbers were incredibly close on both sides, and the electoral college had the final say.  

The result? President-elect Donald Trump. The president of the United States, the man that this United States and its people deserve.

I have been surrounded by disappointment these last few days. It is as if someone I knew and loved died, and in a way it is. I think a lot of people mark this as having lost the last bit of faith they had in this nation.  

It is no secret that we as a nation suffer from deep, cutting partisanship, bigotry and inequality these past few years. It tears your faith in the American people and its government apart bit by tiny bit.

Slow and steady we fell into despair, and in what feels like a death by a thousand cuts, it is as if the final blow was swung down by Tuesday’s election. I watched peers cry, hug and hang their heads in shame at the realization of this election’s result.

There has been a desperate search for answers as well.  

What could have led the polls to be so wrong? Why were so many states underestimated? How did these little inaccuracies add up to change the outcome so drastically?

How did the underdog win with states to spare? What is going to happen to my Muslim friends? My LGBTQIA+ friends? My minority friends?

Statistics and analytical explanations can attempt to answer the first few questions, but the others — the personal ones — can only be answered by time.

The media’s coverage of the election has been a little ridiculous since the President-elect’s victory.  Since winning, Trump said he no longer plans to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, but rather amend it.  

As a result, he has somehow been portrayed as a political mastermind who scammed republicans into electing only so he can push a more progressive agenda.  

Really? Do not buy that ridiculousness just because he set the bar that low. Whatever amendments he plans to propose will likely still undermine the nature of the Affordable Care Act.

It is very difficult to remain optimistic as the next four years play out. Many Democrats want the president-elect to be exactly what liberals have always said: an incredibly unqualified and ridiculous candidate for the presidency.  

Many want to prove Trump voters wrong and show that Hillary Clinton was absolutely the better choice.

Despite first falling into the vindictive attitude of wanting to be right about Trump, I have since seen the error in that train of thought. I now have more faith in this nation and its electorate than ever before.

Do not get me wrong, it will be a rough four years. The stacked republican government will try, and likely succeed, in passing legislation with which liberals disagree.  

Trump may choose a staunch Republican as the next Supreme Court Justice nominee. Trump’s Cabinet will consist of some of the most disliked figures in American politics. Some Trump supporters will continue to see this election as a green light to engage in hateful behavior.

In the face of all of these things, your job, your duty, your absolute obligation is to fight.

The result of the election is not our final sentence, it is not the death of progressive debate, discussion and action, but rather a catalyst. Democrats, patriots and activists just received fuel for the fire. It is our time to fight.

I urge not only Democrats but also Republicans who displeased with this election to take this as an opportunity to become more involved, to do your civic duty.  Do not lose faith in this government but show you hold the power in it. You must work so that four years from now, the President-elect is one you know you deserve.

I am reminded, again, of something instilled into me by my former teacher Michael Gordon. The idea of arete.

As a concept, it is understood to mean “the love of the right things” and “moral virtue.” It has been used as an adjective, a farewell, and a motivator. It is an idea that I urge all of you to adopt as citizens venture into these next four years.  

In the face of persecution, bigotry and partisanship, hold the idea of arête close, and show that you can exercise its message through political activism as a citizen of these United States.

With Arete,

An individual who is a concerned citizen first, democrat second

 

Read Douglas Roche III’s thoughts on the election results as a republican here.

 

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